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Thursday
Aug092012

Congratulations to Keith Todd Zimmet on being selected a San Fernando Valley Most Trusted Advisor

 

Corporate, Financial, Real Estate Attorney EncinoValley's Most Trusted Advisors, Keith T. Zimmet

August 9, 2012
by Lewitt Hackman

 

Last night, at an awards ceremony held in Woodland Hills, The San Fernando Valley Business Journal honored our very own Keith Todd Zimmet as one of the Valley's Most Trusted Advisors.

Keith was one of a select number of professionals chosen from a group of 150 nominees which included attorneys, bankers, accountants, wealth managers, and insurance professionals. Approximately 500 members of the business, legal and financial community in the Valley attended the event.

The Journal recognized Keith’s dedicated client service and commitment to overall excellence. The candidates were nominated by their clients and fellow professionals over the course of a few months.

Keith is the Managing Shareholder of our Firm, Chair of our Commercial Finance Practice Group, Co-Chair of our Real Estate Practice Group, and a member of our Corporate and Mergers & Acquisitions Practice Groups.  

Previously named a Top Rated Lawyer in Real Estate Law by The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel & The National Law Journal as well as one of the Top 25 Lawyers of the Valley by the Journal. Keith is also rated AV 5.0 Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating awarded by peers of the bar, based on legal ability and ethics.

This is the Journal’s second annual Trusted Advisors Awards. Last year, our own John B. Marshall was one of the recipients of the honor.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

 

Wednesday
Aug012012

Divorce Planning Checklist: 5 Financial Steps to Take Before Filing for Divorce

Encino Tarzana Divorce LawyerDivorce Attorney

 

by Vanessa Soto Nellis
818.907.3274

San Fernando Valley Custody Lawyer Los Angeles

 

It's no secret that divorce is almost never easy, with the huge emotional and financial tolls it takes on you, your children, other family members and even your business. Yet nearly half of all new marriages are now projected to end with a trip to a family law court. Despite the many difficulties and adjustments that need to be made, 50 percent of newlyweds will eventually choose to divorce.

Divorce Planning AttorneyAs a family law attorney, I have some advice: Try to preserve the relationship.

That may sound odd coming from a divorce lawyer, but if there's any way at all to reconcile, you should pursue that glimmer of hope. Undergo family counseling, give or accept apologies, make compromises whenever possible. Even if you decide later to divorce, if things are amicable, it will be less difficult emotionally and cost less money.

If none of that works, you may find some comfort in knowing you tried, and you'll want to find all of the emotional validation you can get. Then start prepping for your financial future.

 

How to Prepare for Divorce – Five Financially Savvy Steps

 

Since divorce can be costly, I always recommend divorce mediation for couples who might be able to work out differences in a timely and reasonable manner. I NEVER recommend using an online divorce service though – initially a cheap way to get a divorce, that path can lead to much bigger financial problems in the future.

As for what you need to do before getting a divorce, start here:

 

  1. Save Money: Are you the spouse that's moving out, or the one staying put? Either way, you'll need cash to stock or maintain your household. Hopefully, you've been saving your own money in your own account since your very first job. If not, you should start socking funds away the moment the word "divorce" crosses your mind.

  2. Inventory Your Assets: List your business assets, real estate, vehicles, major appliances, furniture, jewelry, family heirlooms and anything else of value. Note the items that you think should be considered your sole property, i.e. something left to you from your family's estate, etc. Take photos of the more valuable items, and copy insurance policies or certifications of these assets.

  3. Tally Your Debts: The expense of maintaining a second household will come as a shock for most families. Figure out what loans and expenses you have, if you'll have any tax liabilities later in the year, what your kids spend on day-to-day lunches/snacks/entertainment, etc., and what expenses you can eliminate right now.

    Determine which credit cards and other debt obligations belong solely to you, to your spouse, or are co-owned. If you don't have any credit cards of your own, you should consider getting one for emergencies.

  4. Become a Super Sleuth: Will your spouse tell you what he or she makes, or do you already know? Many people, especially if both parties are working professionals, do not know how much money their partner earns in salary, bonuses and benefits. Time to dig out those old tax returns and W2s. If your spouse owns a business, you may need a forensic accountant.

  5. Separate the Money: Time to maintain separate bank accounts. Working together, you should be able to divide savings accounts or checking accounts and expenses.

    If you suspect you'll be financially "punished" the moment you ask for a divorce though, talk to your attorney about taking steps to secure some resources.

 

Whatever you do, realize that this is not the time to procrastinate. You and your partner should work out your problems if you can. If you can't and/or you think your spouse is hiding assets, get a lawyer, save money, and gather as many financial facts as you can before filing for divorce.

 

Vanessa Soto Nellis is a Family Law Attorney who represents high profile clients in divorce, visitation or custody, spousal or child support, division of assets and divorce mediation proceedings. Contact her via vnellis@lewitthackman.com for more information.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

 

Thursday
Jul262012

Green the Color of Choice for British Olympic Planners

 

Los Angeles Litigation AttorneyEnvironmental Law & Civil Litigation AttorneyJuly 26, 2012
by Stephen T. Holzer

Los Angeles Environmental Attorney

The British aren't just eyeing the gold in the upcoming summer Olympic games, they've got their sights fastened on green.

That's right, eco-friendly is the newest game in international competition, and the United Kingdom is a strong contender.

They've managed to convert an old industrial section of London by "washing" two million tons of soil, planting about 4,000 trees, and reclaiming hundreds of acres of soiled riverbanks and other lands in the process. Many of the Olympic competition venues like the Velodrome, will be relying primarily on natural ventilation and light.

Spectators better be strong contenders too, as few will be allowed to actually drive onto the game grounds. Visitors will all have to rely on public transit, do "Mind the Gap" please, and then hoof it to their seats.

At least they'll be traveling in style, via high-speed Javelin trains. The Javelins will carry about 25,000 passengers per hour between central London and Olympic Park.

According to the United Kingdom's Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the London 2012 Olympics will be the first Olympic Summer Games event with a pre-calculated carbon footprint. Of course, the website does NOT say how large that footprint actually is. 

Further, what is included in the footprint measurement? 

Keep in mind that over 180 countries are sending their athletes in by fuel-guzzling jetliners, even more of which will be bustling in tourists. Let's not forget Europe's greenhouse gas war on airlines, and what havoc that has already created in the international community.

Moreover, the Commission for a Sustainable London has roasted the Olympic torch makers for failure to be low-carbon despite the torch designers' claim that they ran out of time to design such a low-carbon device. The head of the Commission  stated,

“The promise of a low-carbon torch was made in 2007 and so the excuse of ‘we ran out of time’ is not acceptable.”

Stephen T. Holzer is the Chair of the Environmental Practice Group at our Firm. Contact him via e-mail: sholzer@lewitthackman.com.


 
Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

 

Wednesday
Jul252012

Business Succession Planning: The Shareholder, Operating or Partnership Agreement

 

by Robert A. Hull

 

For many of us, one of our most valued assets, is our business. What happens when you or one of your business partners becomes disabled, divorces, retires or passes away? Will your business continue to function smoothly?  Will there be infighting between owners or spouses/estates/children of owners?  

Hopefully, you established procedures for some of these scenarios when you started your company. If you didn't, you need a business succession plan. Here's a hypothetical to illustrate why:

You co-own a custom wing-nut company that manufactures state-of-the-art custom wing-nuts for almost any industry that uses this type of fastener, with a partner who is married with three children. You are also married, with three children.

However, you've never gotten along with your partner's spouse, who you think is spoiled, grasping and just plain annoying. Worse, your partner's three kids all embody many of the same negative traits.

To further complicate matters, your own spouse worked from home throughout your own marriage, raising three mostly good kids . . . a great parent, but not in the least bit business minded.

Your kids are a mixed bag. Two work for your company. One is creative – he came up with the brilliant idea of fluorescent wing-nuts which are selling like proverbial hotcakes. The other is financially-minded, the one who ensured you made the biggest profits possible on the project. The third kid just likes to head off to Las Vegas a lot. Frankly, you're a little worried.

Some of the questions you should be asking at this point are:

  1. What happens to your company if your business partner passes away or becomes disabled, divorced or simply wishes to sell his or her share of the business? Will you suddenly be partners with his or her annoying spouse and three, bratty children or with a stranger?

  2. What happens to your own interest and your company if you should become disabled or pass away?

It is crucial that you put into place a plan to address the above scenarios before any of them manifest.

Business succession planning may sound complex, but it's really a lot less difficult than leaving everything up to fate or "crossing those bridges when you come to them." No good comes from kicking the can down the road.

 

The Shareholder/Operating/Partnership Agreement – Defining Intentions and Handling Disputes

 

Business Succession AttorneyA Shareholder Agreement (for a corporation), Operating Agreement (for an LLC), or Partnership Agreement can provide some answers to these questions. 

It will clarify what you and your business partner intend for your company, and can provide guidelines for handling future disagreements. The agreement (sometimes referred to as a “buy-sell” agreement), or in some instances the governing documents of the business itself, should set forth:

  1. The respective ownership interests of the business partners.

  2. The next steps to take when an owner resigns or retires, becomes disabled or dies, or files for personal bankruptcy (e.g., buyout provisions, rights of first refusal, etc.;

  3. The valuation of the stock or interest;

  4. If your company will buy out the departing or deceased shareholder's stock or interest.

All of these issues, and more, should be addressed in a good Shareholder/Operating/ Partnership Agreement to avoid the business pitfalls resulting from a change in personal circumstances.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Wednesday
Jul112012

Bicycle Safety - California Bicycle Law & Common Sense

Personal InjuryBike Accident Attorney

 

 

by Andrew L. Shapiro

(818) 907-3230

 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 630 people died in 2009 because of non-motorized cycling accidents, and 51,000 were injured. Those are national figures. But the California Department of Motor Vehicles cites about 99 bicycle fatalities each year in our own state. The numbers of California bicycle deaths make up a large percentage of the national figure.

Bike Accident Attorney

Many times, bicycle deaths occur simply because the bicyclist wasn't seen by a driver. But every now and then you hear of a bicyclist who was seriously injured or died because of road hazards.

So let's take a moment to review the rules of the road, so you can protect yourself and stay safe when two-wheeling.

Deaths for bicyclists over age 16 increased by 69 percent since 1975. The average age of the people killed while cycling from 2005 to 2009 is 40.  

California Bicycle Law – Reviewing the Basics

 

First, you should know that a bicycle is considered a vehicle in California. That means you must:

  1. Obey all traffic signals and signs.
  2. Ride in the same direction as other vehicular traffic.
  3. Ride on the road, close to the curb, and not on the sidewalk.
  4. Signal when turning.
  5. Wear a helmet if you are under 18.

There are other California bicycle laws to follow, but these five are the most basic, and the ones we see bicyclists violating the most often. You can check the more complete list of bicycle safety rules on the California DMV website page Sharing the Road With Other Vehicles.

 

Bicycle Safety – Paying Close Attention

 

How's your biking environment? Assuming you're following California bicycle law, are your favorite routes kept safe for your ride?

There are many factors that could affect a bicyclist's safety, and we have handled many bicycle accident cases where we found construction company or governmental negligence causing serious injuries and even fatalities.

So when it comes to bicycle safety, watch out for these hazards:

Drainage or Sewer Grates: If the slats run in the direction of traffic, you might be thrown from your bike if your wheels get caught in the grate. We represented a client who was seriously injured because of an ill-fitting grate in Malibu, recently. One of his wheels got stuck in the space between the grate and the pavement.

Potholes: Weather and heavy traffic create them, and hopefully the city or county will repair them. And hopefully they'll be repaired correctly. Watch out for potholes and buckles in the road that may throw you off balance. Watch out especially if the potholes are water-filled, since you may not be able to tell how deep the hole is.

Railroad Tracks: Just like the sewer grates mentioned above, if the rails run with traffic, you might get a tire caught in the groove between the rail and the pavement.

Road Shoulders: Since riding your bike on a sidewalk is illegal in many California municipalities (not illegal in the City of Los Angeles unless you're riding in a dangerous manner), you may want  to use the road. Shoulders can be hazardous to bicyclists though, particularly if they're too narrow and you're forced into the road, or if rumble strips force you into the road. Use a specified bike lane whenever you can. But if you are forced to move off the shoulder and into the road be sure to look for oncoming traffic, and to use hand signals to alert drivers to what you are doing.

Slick Spots: Look out for wet pavement and leaves, oil spills and painted pavements.

Bike Accident Lawyer Los AngelesThese are just some of the hazards you'll need to keep watch for when riding a bicycle. In addition, don't forget the dangers of other drivers: those that don't signal before turning or switching lanes, those that drive distracted, and those that just don't see you sharing the road.

Whether you're driving a two, four, six or 18-wheeler, keep safe, drive defensively, and always look twice before changing lanes or turning.

Andrew L. Shapiro is an Accident Lawyer and Chair of our Personal Injury Practice Group. Contact him via e-mail: ashapiro@lewitthackman.com.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.
LEWITT HACKMAN | 16633 Ventura Boulevard, Eleventh Floor, Encino, California 91436-1865 | 818.990.2120